Thursday, October 22, 2009

Never Compromise in Teaching Quality...

Mathematics is an integral part of life and it’s used everywhere. Recently, Maharashtra State Board introduced two levels of mathematics for Class X SSC board students. One will be regular maths and other will be general maths. The general maths level will be lower than regular maths. It’s not advisable to opt out or to use truncated syllabus for Math in Class X SSC Board Exam.

Availability of such options could make the Parents think that their child may not score well in Maths Class X SSC board exam or even fail in the subject. Due to this fear, they encourage their child to select general Maths. But this means that the child may not be able to choose the science or engineering field for his career. Even if a child opts for Arts or Commerce, then also he/she will not be taken Maths in Class XI.

The mathematics taught year ago largely focused on teaching student how to perform procedures. Students were required to memorize definitions, formula and rules, and often they applied without any thought. Students were considered good at mathematics if they could “do math” quickly and without any thought. Today we know that for student to be able to use school mathematics outside the classroom, they must understand what they are doing. By understanding, I mean that they know not only how to perform option like long division but [also] why the procedure works and what the result means. This deeper understanding enables students to know when it is appropriate to use what they have learned.

Under the given circumstances, a teacher can play a very important role in clearing away the myths associated with the learning of Maths. The teacher can strive to make the child understand the abstract Mathematical concepts and their applications. To make the subject interesting, a teacher can try to relate a topic with other subjects like History, Art, Music, etc. If a teacher explains the application of Mathematical concepts in day to day life, the student can then understand and remember the concept more easily. The Teacher should teach in such a manner that develops the critical and creative thinking skills of the pupil. Also, the teacher can bring the child up to a certain level of understanding of a Mathematical concept, after which it’s up to a child to perform well or even crack the subject. For that, a child has to work on the subject with hard work - constantly and continuously.

For that, the Teacher has to foster such an environment in the class. I can think of a good old story that very well fits in here.

A German once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, "Do you need two statues of the same idol?" "No," said the sculptor without looking up, "We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage." The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage. "Where is the damage?" he asked. "There is a scratch on the nose of the idol." said the sculptor, still busy with his work. "Where are you going to install the idol?"

The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet high. "If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?" the gentleman asked. The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, "I will know it."

Like the sculptor of this story, it is the Teacher’s responsibility to practice excellence which will consequently improve the quality of teaching Mathematics.

Never compromise in Quality is indeed the need of hour.

No comments: